Benny Giang

@bennygiang

Building a bridge between blockchain and consumers with cats

November 10th 2017

The name of the game is CryptoKitties, and making blockchain and DLT accessible to consumers is the goal.

Photo of some of the first CryptoKitties ready to be adopted on launch day (Nov 28th)

Blockchain could be the information age’s biggest advancement since the internet. By enabling trustless transactions and empowering transparency, security, and privacy, the technology holds immense potential for businesses and consumers alike.

Unfortunately, the public perception of blockchain barely brings this up — if the technology itself is even acknowledged. Instead, the peaks of Bitcoin’s valuation dominate most headlines; a successful token offering has an ICO horror story the next article over. This revolutionary technology is misunderstood, often maligned, and its potential is underexploited.

That’s why we’re putting cats on the blockchain 🐈

Introducing CryptoKitties

Putting cats on the blockchain may not seem like the noblest endeavour, nor the most useful application of the technology — but give me a moment to try and explain.

CryptoKitties started in September 2017 as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the state of the crypto-landscape. Despite the cat puns, memes, and goofy-looking mascots, there is a serious point to this project and a genuine sense of excitement for the technology that supports it.

A team of people who are clearly trying to make a serious point

At the heart of this and all our blockchain efforts is a desire to make the technology accessible to everyone. Abstractions of blockchain are difficult for most to swallow, so we use Cryptokitties to communicate some of Ethereum’s features.

At its core, blockchain is a way for people to prove ownership and trustfully transact. A game based on collectible cats seemed like the most approachable introduction.

The first CryptoKitty was born at the world’s largest Ethereum Hackathon

We premiered CryptoKitties alpha at ETHWaterloo. Newly converted Cryptokitties fans learned how to transact with Ethereum when they installed Metamask; they experienced smart contracts when calling the function to breed one cat with another. Users were more comfortable buying and spending Ethereum in a context they found appealing: a game featuring collectible, breedable, and oh-so-adorable cats we call CryptoKitties.

Users experience the ownership of a non-fungible good — their CryptoKitties. This is a unique proposition made possible by blockchain. A user can own a cat that is irrevocably theirs without verification of a central party.

In CryptoKitties, users can pair their CryptoKitties with others to produce unique offspring that are informed by their parent’s unique genome. Hidden in the tie-dye branding and puns is the exciting concept of digital scarcity — one of the many groundbreaking ideas that blockchain makes possible.

Sidenote: our team won the hackathon with Rufflet, a mixpanel for smart contracts that underlines our desire to make blockchain technology more accessible.

But… why cats?

Pop quiz, hotshot: why not?

Cats are ambassadors for pharaohs, memes, and your mom’s facebook page. They powered the internet and they can do the same thing for the blockchain.

Cats are adaptable, adorable, and while they may be difficult to understand, they’re easy to appreciate.

CryptoKitties is not holding an ICO, nor is early investment a necessary prerequisite to participate. You don’t need to understand the finer points of the token economy to take part: you just need to find the CryptoKitties cute.

Cryptokitties are proof that you can create something on Ethereum without a token and “utility” issued from it. Users can buy, sell, and trade CryptoKitties without ever issuing or buying a token — all they need is some Ethereum and the desire to do play.

Written by Benny Giang and Layne Lafrance

CryptoKitties launches on November 28th. Sign up here to stay updated!

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